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No Man’s Dawn: writing a bastard

Luk is a bastard. And he’s great fun!

He’s a version of the Knight from my Dresden writing, and a version of him also snuck into the Dresden RPG – Ryan wanted to play him for our next session. The character sheet was awesome to make; basically, if he can fight or screw his way out of a situation then he will, and if he can’t, then he’ll weasel out of it. He’s mostly looking out for himself, has a definite way with words, and is just generally a git.

He comes in to No Man’s Land, but he’s a bit less of a dupek at that point. No Man’s Dawn is a prequel, set about ten years before No Man’s Land…and I get to have Luk be his original, bastard self.

This is just the start of him; he gets worse! *big author grin*

 

But the first thing I do after I swing myself out from under the very comfortable duvet is pull out the two trinkets I stole from the crone in the Otherworld yesterday.

In the morning light, they look plain and dusty. One is a set of thin bracelets, held together with a leather strap woven down one edge; the other side jangles faintly as I pick them up. Seen through the Sight, this cluster of thin silver rings looks like it contains a fairly potent shielding spell, or maybe a concealment. I’d have to get someone a bit more knowledgeable than I am to have a look.

The second item looks, frankly, like a small red carrot. It’s heavy, slightly bobbled, pointed at one end and blunt at the other. It doesn’t look like it does anything.

I hold it in my palm and flick my Sight on. It’s magical, sure, and…it looks like it’s got some kind of trigger spell on it. You’d have to put magic into it to start whatever the magic is that it contains, and I’m not feeling that today. That’s a pretty good way to get your metaphorical fingers burned when the main spell sucks you dry. No thank you.

I put both of the items in one of the desk drawers, and sling the invisibility cloak over my naked shoulders. Polly’s got a long mirror leaning against the wall in the hallway, so I pad out to look at myself. To me, the cloak just looks like a cloak, but in the mirror I’m barely there. I’d guess that the spell has lost some of its potency here; the cloak will act as more of an attention-diverter than a true invisibility spell. Still, pretty useful.

I drop the cloak, enjoying the fabric on my skin, and spend a little while examining myself. I still look pretty good, even with my scars. The white, puckered lines trail down my cheek and neck and onto my side. My rib’s healed nicely, and you can’t even tell that my arm was broken. My cock took a bit of a beating, but that’s healed – although admittedly my balls didn’t. Oh well, it’s not like I wanted children anyway.

I pose for a while longer, and then run a hand through my hair. A bit greasy, but it’ll do. It’s not like my natural charm ever let greasy hair get in the way of a fuck.

 

 

Progress: No Man’s Dawn

Writing feels like a jigsaw puzzle sometimes, except you have to make up the pieces yourself.

I start off with some of the edges, and a few bits of tree or whatever, and then realise that maybe the pattern is a kitten in a basket and that’s some of the basket, and I’ve got the kitten, plus I found a few more bits of edge, but maybe it would look good with a puppy in there too? And then the cat sits on the board and I lose a few of the pieces down the back of the sofa and the sky seems to be a weird mix of blue and cloud, and it’s all a weird mess within a few random edge pieces.

Also, I think metaphors can be taken too far. But you get what I mean.

I didn’t feel that No Man’s Dawn was quite right; I was missing something. Dee was boring. While the outline was good – someone running away from a problem, making a new life, discovering secrets, murder mystery – it didn’t have the spark I wanted.

Well, I came up with a solution.

I added Luk.

I came up with the idea in the car, and my housemate just gave me a Look when I started giggling.

This is now the start of the book:

“Fuck. Fuck, fuckitty fucking fuck. Fuck!”

That last one echoes off the rock ahead of me, and I glance over my shoulder to try to spot my pursuers.

Of course, I can’t see anything.

“Fucking invisible bastard fuckers!”

You see why I was giggling?

Adding Luk adds depth and familiarity. I’m doing alternate chapters, Luk and Dee; it means I can add an extra plotline, add an extra thread to my murder mystery, and I don’t necessarily have to explain everything to the clueless Dee as Luk is already experienced. He’s also a complete bastard, and it’s been great fun to play out some of the consequences – especially on Dee. I’d already planned for him to come into the story, but having half of it from his perspective is definitely the right thing to do.

The spark’s back. I’m loving this almost as much as No Man’s Land; it hasn’t got the same snark factor, but hopefully it’s going to have a similar Not Nice feel, along with a twist at the end.

I’m also doing some work on No Man’s Sky; I’ve got ideas for some fill-in sections thanks to my beloved alpha-reader and aunt, and it’s been through a couple of other readers who have also given me ideas and encouragement. I’m waiting on my other alpha to finish writing Suddenly Lesbians (working title) and then she can focus on it, but that’s definitely got some spark back too.

So it’s getting there! (Again). Yay!

New stories: erotica and No Man’s Dawn

I’ve been managing to write at least some words each day on a variety of different things. I write erotica – under a different pen name – and I’ve been working on a couple of pieces for that; and No Man’s Dawn has been slowly coming along, chapter by chapter.

My Facebook followers got the opening line for No Man’s Dawn last week, so here’s your general preview…

It’s a nice day to jump off the roof, my shadow whispers as I walk up the concrete staircase of the tower block.

The erotica’s actually quite fun. I get to character-build and then I have to put an action scene in (I always figure sex is pretty much like a fight scene, just with…different weapons) and it’s always fun to do. As I’ve said previously, though, it’s very rarely done in a ooh I’m so horny mood – it’s more like what the hell is their anatomy doing and how many penises do I have in this scene again?! and just kiss damnit! When characters don’t do what you want them to do anyway, adding bodies into the mix can be a recipe for a lot of confusion. Still fun, though!

I’ve been working on two pieces; one on a prompt for “music” that I’ve set in a karaoke bar and the other a general piece that seems to have turned itself into an underworld-syndicate-crime-detective sort of thing. Have a snippet of the karaoke one…

 

“What do you like singing, then?”

He smiles at me, almost puzzled. “You really want to know?”

“Yeah. I mean, I guess you get asked for the latest hits all the time. What do you sing in the shower?”

His cheeks start turning pink. “Well, if you wanna know that…”

I realise what I just said. I’m lucky that my beard hides most of my blush, but I can feel my face heating up too. “Shit. I didn’t mean it like that. Well, I mean. Uh. I’m gay, but…”

He’s really grinning now, watching me get more and more flustered. “Hey, chill. I’ll sing you something if you want.”

“Sure. Yeah. I’d like that.”

“In the shower or here?”

I didn’t think I could get any more flustered, but my cheeks flame again. “Uh. Um. Here to start with?” I manage to waggle an eyebrow suggestively despite my embarrassment. “I’ll have to see about the shower.”

Let’s just say it gets steamier from there!

 

NaNoWriMo 2016: Day 4

I wrote some wurds. Quite a lot of wurds.

As of posting this, it’s….somewhere around 25k. Lemme go check.

25,542 words. I had the day off yesterday (aka. I wrote about 1000 words) so that’s mostly in the first two days.

However, there is logic behind the madness. I’m racing the ML to 50k, along with a couple of fellow Swindon Wrimos. Yes, we are all insane. No, no-one’s fingers have fallen off yet (that I know of). Yes, possibly we are depleting the caffeine and chocolate supplies of this country quite severely.

Well, the others are. I’m actually doing pretty well on the junk food and snack front.

At about 10.30 on Day 2, the heroine also turned into a hero. I was pondering the annoying-ness and potential cliche filled nature of the romance I am apparently writing, and thought about gender-swapping.

Welp, there we go then. That is A Thing.

I’m actually quite liking this in relation to the trilogy. I’ve got an apocalyptic urban fantasy, a fairytale/journey of discovery with some nasty bits thrown in, and a gay sci-fi romance. This, very weirdly, works. And I’m really liking the story – Sophie’s been moaning that hers is a pile of poo, but so far mine’s actually a relatively solid draft. It’s going to need work and expanding, but that’s fine. The overall plot, characters, motivations…I like it!

So, currently, I’m just planning how to attack a space station, or at least get my baddies onto said space station. Bring on the second half of the story!

 

“You want us to go through a portal to an alien planet and find some lizards, who are really, really dangerous,” I say slowly.

“Yes.”

“Follow said lizards through their portal to their world, ideally without them noticing.”

“Yes.” The Commander has a faint smile on his face.

“Then check out the portals, which are a relatively unknown technology, and work out some way to disrupt them.”

“Yes.”

“And then find a possibly live nuke, pick up said live nuke and bring it back to our small, flammable space station.”

“Yes.”

“All without getting tortured, lost or killed.”

“Ideally.”

“Right.” I lean back, put my feet on the table, and say, “You’re insane.”

On holes and word counts

Pettry - irithyll
Image from http://pettry.tumblr.com/

It’s No Man’s Sky (not the game, my work-in-progress) causing problems. Again.

I’m 33k in, and I’ve hit a problem. The plot as it stands will take me to about 50k, which – while excellent – is not 70k. Soooo, I need to add words, while still keeping the plot that I think works quite well.

I temporarily laid the work aside, because the worst thing you can do when you know you have a problem is keep writing. It means you end up with a whole load of words going in the wrong direction and then you have to scrap them, which is even more frustrating. So I’ve temporarily halted while I have a think.

My problem is essentially that I like the beginning and the end of the story, but the middle needs more problems: Arran gets from A to C with only a few minor issues in B. I laid out the plot to work out where I could add things, and picked out three points that could be extended; a stay in a Fairy Castle, a stay with the Green Knight, and an incident with a tricky Maiden.

The Fairy Castle stay could be extended, but that will simply add one chapter; that’s fine, it’ll add to the story, so I’ll do that anyway. The Green Knight…ok, let’s just put that aside right now. But the incident with the Maiden…yes, that’d work. Currently, Arran encounters a problem, returns to somewhere he’s been before and purchases what he needs, and then continues. My solution to more words is to make it harder for him to purchase that item. That also means he’s travelling with an additional companion (a very annoying six-year-old) for longer, which will be thoroughly amusing.

Pettry image
Image from http://pettry.tumblr.com/

So, yay, solution! Except I’m now stuck with the problem that I don’t know where he would get that item in the story-world. I’m diving back into research and fairy tales to try to find someone who would buy and sell years, or has that sort of magic, or would present a solution. This may tie into the Green Knight – that area wasn’t entirely fleshed anyway so that’s why it went on hold. But it means I’m nose-deep in fairy tales instead of adding to my wordcount, not that it’s a bad thing as I like fairy tales.

So that’s my thought process when it comes to this particular problem. My course of action in addition to researching is going to be to pick up the story where I can in the last third, and write that while I think about the middle; I know that any action before that probably isn’t going to affect the plot for the final third, so hopefully my word count will start creeping up again!

Also…just sayin’.